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This is the Guelaguetza

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 9 day(s)
Group Size: 8 - 12 people
Destination(s): Mexico  
Specialty Categories: Festival Tours   Cultural Journey  
Season: July
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 1700 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 2200 US Dollar (USD)

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Oaxaca City, and depending on hour of arrival we can take a leisurely stroll to the Zocalo. Welcome reception and dinner (D)

Day 2: Our day begins with a guided walking tour of the city, where we will orient ourselves for the remainder of the trip and make stops at many key points of interest throughout the city center. The Zocalo, Dominican Churches, city markets and the Botanical Gardens will be visited. "Comida" or late lunch is at Marco Polo, known for their outstanding wood oven fired fish. From here, we position ourselves to witness the Parade of Delegations, where dancers from all regions parade through downtown Oaxaca. (B,L)

Day 3: One of the best markets in the Oaxaca Valley is the Sunday market at Tlacolula. Traveling east from Oaxaca City, we stop in Tlacochahuaya and Tule. Returning to the City, we enjoy the Sunday concert in the Zocalo of the Oaxaca National Orchestra. We lunch overlooking the Zocalo at Casa de Abuela to sample green, red, black and yellow moles, and for the brave they serve "chapulines" or grasshoppers, a Mexican favorite. Evening is free to shop, explore, sip hot chocolate or stroll. (B, L)

Day 4: Today is the big day, The Guelaguetza. We travel to villages in the Valley to enjoy more traditional versions of this event. Some of the dances include: The Pineapple Flower Dance, the Dance of the Feather, and the Turtle of the Sand. In San Antonino, we visit with the dancers, visit the surrounding rose farms and enjoy being in the middle of this ancient valley surrounded by locals enjoying this most festive occasion. (B)

Day 5: Today we wind down with either a cooking class with a local chef/cook or a nature hike, depending on your preferences. Afternoon is free to explore Oaxaca City, including some of its fine museums. (B, L)

Day 6: Returning to the valley to the east of Oaxaca, we visit the ancient Zapotec site of Mitla, to learn of the carved stone motifs that we will see later in weavings. In the Zapotec community of Teotitlan del Valle, we meet a special weaving coop, where members talk to us about their ancient weaving and dyeing traditions, dating back to pre-Hispanic times of the Pre-Classic era. Originally, weaving was done on backstrap looms with vegetable fibers and natural dyes, but later, he Spanish introduced treadle looms and wool. Tonite, we head to the Zocalo for dancing to the State Marimba Band, where Guayaberas are the recommended attire! (B, L)

Day 7: Today we visit one of the first urban centers of Mesoamerica, Monte Alban, where we learn of the three major phases of this great city inhabited by the Mixteco and later Zapoteco people during the Pre-Classic era. Following our guided tour, we rest at the great on-site cafe, museum and bookstore before heading to Zaachila for a family style lunch at La Capilla. Regaining our strength we stop in the artisan villages of Arrazola and Aztompa known for their wood carvings and pottery. (B, L)

Day 8: On our final day, we visit another favorite market in the Valley of Oaxaca, this time traveling south to Ocotlan. In addition to the market, we visit the Rodolfo Morales museum housed in a former convent (later a prison), have lunch in town, and visit a nearby mezcal producer. On the way home, we stop in the artisan communities of Tilcajete, Jalieza and Coyotepec to see whimsical "alebrije" wood carvings, belts and bags made on backstrap looms and the austere black pottery made famous by Dona Rosa, (was discovered by accident by someone else, due to an oxygen reduced kiln!) We enjoy a farewell dinner at Cafe Casa Oaxaca (B,L,D)

Day 9: Depart for home or extend

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- 9 Nights accommodations
- Breakfast daily
- Meals, per itinerary
- Entrance fees in itinerary
- Tour guides and transportation
- Airport Transfers

Price Excludes:
- Airfares, International/Domestic
- Meals not listed in itinerary
- Beverages: Soft Drinks, Bottled Water, Liquor
- Cab fares, laundry, personal items
- Gratuities
- Travel Insurance
- Medical Expenses
- Airport Taxes
- Costs associated with trip interruption or modification due to weather, conditions, political/civil disputes, medical emergencies or other causes beyond our control. Travel Insurance is recommended for this purpose.